Laura McKowen returns to the show! Laura says, “Much of recovery is about accepting the good and the bad, as well as accepting the contradictions.” She joins me to talk about her sobriety story, how she processed the emotions of sobriety, and how she works with people now to inspire them to say yes to a bigger life.
Laura is the author of the bestselling memoir, We Are The Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life, and the Founder and CEO of The Luckiest Club, a global sobriety support program.
In this episode you’ll hear:
- Laura shares her sobriety story and how she went from working in advertising and drinking to sober, teacher, coach, and speaker. (3:58)
- What inspired Laura to write her book, We Are The Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life. (15:08)
Sober Curiosity: We all have something that shatters the concept of self as we know it. (18:31)
- Some ways in which a newly sober person can learn to hear and speak their truth, and renew their sense of meaning and purpose. (36:38)
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Coaching with Andrea Owen
The Make Some Noise workbook bonus is still available for book purchasers – get it here!
The Recovery Series
Rob Bell on Boundaries
Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff
Laura McKowen on The Recovery Series
Laura McKowen inspires people to say yes to a bigger life. She’s the author of the bestselling memoir, We Are The Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life, and the Founder and CEO of The Luckiest Club, a global sobriety support program. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, WebMD, Psychology Today, and the TODAY show. Laura has an MBA from Babson College and lives with her daughter on the north shore of Boston.
So much of recovery is accepting all of it. All of the good and the supposed bad in me and the contradictions I still have to work on that.
You're listening to Make Some Noise Podcast episode number 414 with guest Laura McKowan.
Welcome to Make Some Noise Podcast your guide for strategies, tools and insights to empower yourself. I'm your host, Andrea Owen, global speaker, entrepreneur, life coach since 2007, and author of three books that have been translated into 18 languages and are available in 22 countries. Each week, I'll bring you a guest or a lesson that will help you maximize unshakable competence, master resilience and make some noise in your life. You ready? Let's go.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. I am so glad that you're here. I'm excited this morning. Because Laura McKowan is on the show. She's a longtime dear friend of mine. And it's been several years since she's been on. So you may have forgotten all about her story. So it'll be like hearing her on the show for the first time.
And I also wanted to mention that if you purchased a copy of Make Some Noise, which I sincerely hope that you did, don't forget that there is the workbook that is available for free, it's still available. If you head on over to AndreaOwen.com/noise, you can find that bonus over there. It's a great accompanying thing to be able to do the work instead of just read about it. I also wanted to mention that I have one spot open for private coaching. We can do kind of two different things, you have two options when you come to work with me. We can go through the Daring Way and Rising Strong or just one or the other, which is the modality based on the research of Brené Brown, I'm trained and certified in her work, I'm taking one person through it right now. And it's amazing. You learn brand new tools and get it in your bones so you can take that work with you into your life forever and ever amen. And also, you can come and work with me without doing curriculum and you bring your own agenda. You bring your primary focus, and sometimes people have a goal that they want to accomplish, and they just cannot seem to get past the obstacles. Or sometimes it's relationships, that they're having a hard time setting boundaries, they've gone around in circles with someone or something, and they need some guidance. And you can head over to AndreaOwen.com/apply and fill out the application there. I also have Liz and Sabrina who are my lead coaches that also work with clients and that might be a better fit for you. So head on over to AndreaOwen.com/apply and my team will help you figure out what is the best fit for you.
Alrighty then, for those of you who are new to Laura, let me tell you a little bit about her. Laura McKowan inspires people to say yes to a bigger life. She's the author of the best selling memoir, We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life, and the founder and CEO of The Luckiest Club, a global sobriety support program. She has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian WebMD, Psychology Today, and The Today Show. Laura has an MBA from Boston College and lives with her daughter on the north shore of Boston. So without further ado, here is Laura.
Laura, welcome back to the show.
Thank you. Hi.
So fun to have you on here in a in a more professional setting.
I know. I know.
It's been two, it's been years. I feel like the last time you were on was 2015 or 2016. Well, that's when I had my recovery series and we'll drop that link in the show notes. And that's why my first question is to ask you about your story because it's been so long since you've been on even if people did listen to it. They don't remember. And so can like let's dive into specifically your sobriety story, like how you went from working in advertising and drinking to now being a sober person in recovery and teacher and author, speaker all of those things. Okay. I know that's like it that could take like 45 minutes.
I'll do a condensed version much quicker version. Yeah, I I was in marketing and advertising for 15 years. I was gonna say I grew up in Colorado, I guess that is sort of relevant. I moved out to the East Coast, right after college and I just started working and in marketing and it was a very boozy culture and I had, you know, arranged my life in every way around fun and alcohol and, and also working really hard. And I went to grad school in out here, I still live here. I got married, I had a little girl in, 12 years ago. And then I got divorced. And that all happened around, well, I had her in 2009, but then I sort of started to hit the wall with drinking pretty quickly after I had my daughter. It was not great before and then it changed a you know, pretty badly after I had her and I it started, I say it stood didn't work anymore, didn't work the same way it used to. And so that shortly after that, I got divorced. And then the wheels really came off. And between 2013 and 2014, I started to earnestly work towards getting sober. Earnestly, and reluctantly. I did not want to get sober, I thought it was the end of everything. And, you know, I, like I said, I had arranged my life, everything in my life was connected to drinking, and I really didn't know how to how to break up with it. And, you know, I didn't know what my life meant. And I started to write my way through that. And write my way through understanding that, processing that, and I started to publish things. Originally just on my blog, which had, you know, all of like a dozen readers. But I started to post things to Facebook, I eventually, you know, pitch them to smoke some small publications online, and I started getting traction that way. And then I also started a podcast called Home in 2015 and that took off, and it opened up this whole, basically, I started to talk and write my way through getting sober.
And I had long wanted to be a writer. It felt like a ridiculous pipe dream at that point. I was 35, 36 I, you know, already had a career, I'd invested so much energy and time and resources and all of those things into it. And it just seemed like there's no way I could, how does one become an author all of a sudden? Yeah, how does it work? And, but I still held this idea or the stream and as I started to work towards it. Meaning I continued to podcast, I continued to write, I continue to build a little bit of a following on social media and things like that. Eventually, after a couple years of doing that, and a couple years of sobriety, I got sober friendly in 2014 the stars align in such a way that I was able to make a leap with a little bit of security, like six months’ worth and I just decided to go for it. And that was in 2016. I, what is it 2021 now, and I have just since then, you know started off doing workshops and retreats I've been I have been a yoga teacher for a really long time. And I started teaching online classes that I created around personal development and sobriety. And my first book came out We Are the Luckiest came out last year in 2020, January, and that went really well. And I started a company or a sobriety support group community rather last year in the pandemic called The Luckiest Club. And I've just been, you know, following the breadcrumbs ever since I got sober really and I'm now currently in the process of writing my second book so that's a very, very condensed version.
The short the short three-minute version. Well, it's been so wonderful to watch your progress and you know, kind of knowing you online as a as a baby sober person and, and also watching like how awkward that is to navigate. Like not only in your personal life with the people around you, but then to do it online. And I'll be honest, like I always worry a little bit when I see people come out who are brand new sober and they're doing it out loud. Because I've seen people have that be their detriment and have that take away from their recovery. I don't think that's the case with any with everyone. It depends on the person. And but I do always like, like the mama bear in me is like always like, oh, please be careful.
Totally because it is it's an intensely private process. And there's no…
Yes. And it's very raw in the beginning.
Yeah. And, and anything that seems like a short cut usually is, you know, whether you get into a relationship right away, and everything's grand, and you're sort of able to ride that out, or you get a lot of success, because you're able to get your word out, you know, and or you're, I mean, the thing is, if you do it out loud, you're doing it in front of an audience. And so some part of your internal process becomes performative and how could it not?
So as you know, you're going to get some kind of feedback, right?
Yeah, I mean, that definitely happened to me. At times, I realized I was way out ahead of my skis. And, you pay for it, yeah. So yeah, I hear you on that.
Yeah, it can be tricky. And then for some people, they use it as a kind of an accountability measure, and it works for them. Well, I don't want to spend a whole lot of time here but I do want to ask you, because I'm sure that you get people who come into your community and into your membership group who are, because I forget do you identify as an alcoholic?
No, I don’t, I just, I, it's not because I don’t…
Let me pause there and ask you about that. Tell me why.
I just…to me the word. No one hears the word alcoholic and thinks anything away. It feels just punitive to me.
It's definitely not a term of endearment.
No, it's, it just feels such a there's so much weight to that word. And I, it's not that I don't have under any illusion that I can drink since safety or that I don't have, you know, significant problem with alcohol. It's not that. It's just it never felt right coming out of my mouth. And I just don't say it. I honestly, I don't need, like, I don't want to sound flippant, but I just don't care. Like, I don't need to say that. I just don't need to say it.
Some people do, who identify. I’m kind of indifferent.
I don't care if people do. I think, use whatever words. As long as you're not bullshitting yourself, use whatever words you want.
Don't use it as a way to completely be in denial, right? I personally, for sure identify as an addict. Like my when people when I go on sobriety podcasts and they asked me, you know, did you have a rock bottom moment or the moment you knew you needed to get sober? And I see yes and no. Like my rock bottom moment was in my love addiction and codependency years prior. Alcohol was just the thing that I grabbed on to when I started healing from codependent and love addiction behaviors. And, and within a couple of years, I knew that I needed to quit that as well. It was for me, it was just a symptom. So do I have addict thinking? 100%. I just was very blessed that I never found heroin or meth or got too deep into cocaine because I would have been a drug addict.
Yeah, I definitely identify as an addict, too. I don't walk around saying that not. It just doesn't come up in conversation. But it is like of course, yes. I seem to be my life. path seems to be quitting things over and. My growth path seems to be what are we gonna have to quit this year, Laura.
When you and I were having a commerce an offline conversation, I think just earlier this week, and I said, my thing with relationships has always been how fast can I… What did I say? How fast can I run into your face? That's that was my goal. How fast can I get into this relationship, fall in love, make you my world, be obsessed with you, and hope that you are obsessed with me?
Yeah. And then it all explodes. Yeah. How long can we go on like that before we actually open our eyes.
I used to have joked that I would run around corners with my eyes closed and my arms open. Like that's how I so ran into all of my relationships. Friendships, romantic partners. And it's not it's only until now. You know, in my mid 30s, I think where I started to realize through therapy and recovery like oh, that's, that might be my habits and my coping mechanisms and part of my personality I feel like but that is not working me and that is not how healthy relationships work with anything or anyone.
Yeah, i's a big lightbulb when you figure that out, because it's like, wait, isn't it supposed to feel like that? No, it's actually not, you know.
it's not. Okay. Well tell us about your book, which I'm holding right in front of me. It's called We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life. And it's, I love this book, because it is part memoir, and please tell me if I'm totally wrong, but I took it as part memoir, part self-help, where you tell stories about your own personal experiences around drinking and that kind of behavior, and then what you have done to heal from it.
Yeah, that's pretty, pretty much right. I, I would say I always say it's a memoir. I feel like it's 95% memoir. And then I, but I am talking directly to the reader often and saying, there is a little prescriptive stuff in there. So yeah, that's, that's true. The book is, it's about my experience of getting sober from alcohol. And I really focus a lot on, that there was a period of time, I call it purgatory between when I, I did have a bottom, it wasn't the end of my drinking, but the lowest point of my drinking was leaving my daughter alone in a hotel room when she was four year old, four years old overnight, because I was blacked out, it was at my brother's wedding. And that's where the book starts. And I, that's when I, shortly after that, I went to my first 12 step meeting. And that was the first time I'd ever really said, okay, this is something I have to do, there was a year and a half before I actually got sober. And it was one of the well, it was the most excruciating year and a half of my life. And, but not only excruciating, it was everything. And I because I did taste sobriety in that time. And for the first time as an adult really is, I mean, since I was 16, I tasted what it was like to not be hungover for an entire week, or do work without hangovers, try to navigate having a conversation, let alone a conversation with someone I was attracted to, and try to do all these things that I have all these feelings that I hadn't felt.
And so I focus a lot on the emotional experience of getting sober because for me, that was, that's what I'm most interested in. Through people's stories, not just my own, but through their stories that I read too. And, you know, just what, how deep the shame goes, and how extraordinary the guilt and that the grief was, of letting it go. And all the dynamics of my relationships with my ex-husband, and my mother, who was very tied into my drinking, and friends and people, I mean, I was dating and such. So I take it, a lot of it goes through that first year. And then I also focused a lot on what it was like, after I got sober, you know, the, the couple years after, because that is, you know, a lot of stories sort of drop off. A lot of quit-lit stories sort of drop off after they get sober. And it's like, man, that part is, is worth talking about.
So, yes, well, and this book, I think it definitely is helpful for people who know that they have a troubled relationship with alcohol, or, you know, they're thinking about getting sober or they are sober. But talk to us about the people, you know, do you have people that enter your program who are sober, curious. Tell us about that.
Yeah, I, the book, I actually, one of the main things I have really tried to convey with the book and that I try to convey in all my work is that addiction is not even that interesting. It's a completely human condition. We're all addicted in some way. And if it's not addiction, I'm just mostly interested in the things that shatter our concept of self as we know it, and usually causes such extraordinary pain that we're invited to live in a different way. My invitation happened to be through addiction. But everyone has a thing. I talk about that in the book. It could be divorce, it could be losing someone you love, it could be chronic illness or just horrible illness. It could be all kinds of things. We all have something. We often have many things and it's a plethora, so I wrote…I really don't see it in this story is primarily about alcohol addiction. Yes. But pain is a human story. And struggle is a human story and these types of invitations to wake up to our lives, which is how I see it is a completely human story.
And so I get people, yes, that are sober, curious, and I'll go back to that in a second. But I also get people that really don't struggle with alcohol at all. That's not their thing. But they have something else. You know, lots of people who've struggled with food, lots of people who struggled with getting over a relationship or grief. You know? It was really important to me, and it is really important to me to take this specialness out of the story of addiction. And…
What do you mean by that?
Like, it's just not that interesting. It's not unique.
Oh, you mean, just this specificity of addiction?
Yeah, like a substance chemical addiction.
Yeah. It's like, there's nobody that's not addicted. Nobody, and yet…
I think for most people, it's process addiction versus chemical addiction and then that's the thing that it's hard to pinpoint.
Mm hmm. Yep. And, you know, addiction is a very human condition. It's documented in every historical, sociological, anthropological record from the beginning of time, you know. It's in every wisdom text they talk about. They talk, they call it different things. But it's, it's a human condition to grasp and to seek pleasure and to escape pain. So that's what I mean.
And as far as sober curiosity goes, it's an interesting phenomenon, because you and I both know that problematic drinking exists on a spectrum. And it's a very big spectrum. And I would say up until, I don't know, five years ago, there was this, and still, I would say, largely, but it's changing, there's this binary thinking you can either drink with impunity, or you can't, because you're an alcoholic. That’s just not the truth. Several studies have come out at one just came out again in about a month ago, that said, there's no safe amount of alcohol, you know, alcohol, any amount of alcohol causes brain damage. I know. Like, I'm not a prohibitionist, I'm not against people drinking at all. I'm just fascinated with the way that we have created this myth around alcohol in our culture, so that, you know, it's such a big deal to, quote unquote, have a problem with it, when in reality, it is just probably it's a drug. And it's, it's problematic for a lot of people and just different ways.
And so the sober curious thing. Yeah, I get people who like, for example, my boyfriend would never have qualified as an alcoholic. He is someone who, though consistently, like a lot of people had alcohol in his life, right? He would go to shows, he would go out to drinks with friends, he would go to dinner. It was kind of constant, but never, or very rarely a problematic thing. And yet, he read my book, and was like, I had never, like really thought about it this way, that it might be keeping me from something I don't even know about, right? This like maybe extra 10% of my, my potential or my awareness or my presence. And so he stopped drinking. And he's like, I feel like I have a superpower. And so he's someone I suppose who would be sober, curious, maybe. But I'm finding there's a lot of that. That people come in and just say, I don't have a I don't feel like I have a good reason why I need to stop and people think they need a reason. But like, I just have this nagging sense that maybe it's not the best not doing me any favors.
Yeah, maybe I should try it maybe actually. It's always so this is kind of like a side note. I feel like we've talked about this a while ago, but the people online and it's typically women that I see, when you know you or I or anybody in the sober community speaks out especially against mommy wine culture, and you know, just how obsessed our society is with alcohol and that there's some pushback. Like there's people who get defensive. And I think when you when you get defensive about something, sometimes that is an indicator that something is against your values. Like if somebody goes online and says trans people are weird. You get defensive because you believe in equality and, you know, tolerance. And, you know, like that type of thing. Like that that kind of defense being defensive is warranted. But it's so interesting to me when people push back and get defensive. It's almost like the gun people come out, you know, like how they are like, don't take away our guns. It's like, no, take away your booze. We’re not, we're not trying to change legislature, like, of course, drunk driving is bad. But like we all we're doing is spreading awareness and asking questions for people to maybe think more about their choices and their coping mechanisms and the, you know, just their whole thinking.
Yeah, well, that's part of what I'm talking about when I say the cultural sort of story we have around alcohol. It's really interesting when you break it down, because there more deaths caused by alcohol than any and all the other drugs combined, including illegal drugs and prescription drugs. So there's, you know, that just goes on and on. But we don't think of it like a drug. It's like alcohol and drugs. It's like no. And I think people's reaction to that is just some of it is not wanting to be judged. And I totally get that. And I, I don't ever say these things in judgment. I don't. I say it because for me, it was, I knew when I went to get sober I felt like I was screaming at the bottom of a well, because it was like, this is not just a Laura has a drinking problem thing. This is we're all under this mass delusion that this isn't problematic until it is and then like, where's this imaginary line? Because if I looked all around me, everyone drink like I did. They really did it, there was just this line that they didn't cross like. And so I think it's just people love their alcohol to like, you want to keep it and I get that.
And it's it's my intention is never to judge or to proclaim that everyone needs to abstain from drinking or anything like that. It's just like, ask these these interesting questions that sort of challenged the entire paradigm that we have around drinking and it's like, you poke it and you see oh, there's a lot, there's a lot in there because these reactions are interesting, right?
I'm just gonna say I feel like if you see something like that, where I'm thinking of one thing that Desiree Adaway posted, it was at the beginning of last school year, there was a, I don't know what store it was at, but there was a display of wine and the sign said something about virtual learning. It was Trader Joe's. I thought it was but I didn't want to throw Trader Joe's under the bus. Yeah, but yeah, they missed the mark. I was not great. And, and and Desiree Adaway who's an anti-racism educator, you know, talks about white supremacy, she was talking about that and capitalism and, and patriarchy and stuff and how it's harming women. Anyway, the comments like people got pissed off. And I remember thinking to myself, I feel like if I did not have any kind of super attachment to alcohol, I would have just scrolled on by and I wouldn't have cared. I would have been like, oh, that's an interesting opinion. I don't agree with it. But whatever. Yeah, not not my argument. So if someone is so inclined to die up on that hill, I feel like you might want to check yourself. Like there might be something there.
Yeah. I know. It's really interesting to watch, if you compare it to, to, like, cigarettes in the 70s or something or even 60s, even 80s, I suppose. Before…
I think it was the 80s when we really started to wake up about it.
Yeah, I know, right? It, it was similar, you know, it was no one questioned it was a very in vogue thing to do. Doctors even recommended it. You could smoke literally anywhere. And now. There are some there some taboos around smoking in certain places. There's laws against it in many places, and it's just kind of fell out of cultural favor. But drinking it's a bang up marketing job on the part of big alcohol for sure. And it's also, I'm I know we don't want to like talk about this the whole time, but I'm truly fascinated by the cultural element of it. The myth that we've created around it. I am truly fascinated at how much we love are alcohol and protect it right? To the point where you see someone, you, the data is right in front of our face. Like we talked about the opioid crisis, right? It's tiny, teeny, teeny, teeny, teeny tiny compared to the alcohol crisis. It doesn't even come close. But we can't. No one wants to hear that.
No, oh, no. So it's study after study proves it.
Yeah. It's just it's one of those things where I just constantly go, this is a fascinating cultural study. The way that we have blindfolded or, it's like, it's a mixture of social acceptance, marketing, like indoctrination, all these things that it's a, it's a, man, someone should at some point, maybe I will, maybe you will, maybe someone will create just a really fascinating study. There's been bits and pieces of it, but I don't think it's time yet. I don't think people want to hear it quite yet.
We’re a country in denial. About a few things.
Alcohol is big, too. You know, it's massive, goes all the way up to the levels of government. But anyway, I don't want to steer too far into it, and if I was someone you know, someone is I guess the bottom line is I would have tuned out this type of conversation like 15 minutes ago, because I wasn't hearing it.
Right. Yeah, it's not it's not for me. It will be when it's when it's time.
I am interrupting this conversation to bring you a few words from some of our sponsors. Y'all, the holidays are quickly approaching and most of us are busy to some extent. My family we are traveling to San Diego and Vegas this year. As you know, life around this time can be stressful and it's so important to prioritize taking care of yourself and that's why I love Banyan Botanicals. They are an Ayurvedic company with products and guides that make me feel great and helped me focus on my wellness from the inside and out. Banyan Botanicals takes a holistic approach to health. They offer tons of free guides and resources that are so helpful in coping with holiday stress. My recent favorite of theirs I've talked about a few different products that I use and I love their Banyan Botanicals Turmeric Milk Mix. It's the perfect cozy winter drink and it supports digestion and health circulation plus it's caffeine free which is important to me because I drink it in the afternoon. To top it off Banyan Botanicals is a certified B Corporation and is committed to sustainability. Banyan Botanicals products offer effective support for your life going into this holiday season and I have a special offer for my listeners 20% off your first purchase and that is good site wide. Just go to BanyanBotanicals.com/noise and make sure you try the Turmeric Milk Mix. B-A-N-Y-A-NBotanicals.com/noise. BanyanBotanicals.com/noise.
You've heard many of the guests here on the podcast who are licensed therapists and you know I encourage everyone to go to therapy. I'm proud to have BetterHelp as one of our sponsors because there's so many things I love about their service. When you sign up for better help. They'll assess your needs and match you with your own licensed professional therapist. You'll get timely and thoughtful responses. Plus you can schedule weekly video or phone sessions. It's more affordable than traditional offline counseling and financial aid is available. They're licensed professional counselors specialize in things like depression, stress, anxiety, relationships, sleeping trauma, anger, family conflicts, LGBT matters, grief, self-esteem and their service is available for clients worldwide. I want you to start living a happier and more fulfilling life today. As a listener, you'll get 10% off your first month by visiting our sponsor at BetterHelp.com/kickass. Join over 1 million people who have taken charge of their mental health again, that's BetterHelp H-E-L-P.com/kickass.
One of the things that I find incredibly overwhelming is food. But it's the whole process of it. It's the planning it's the deciding it's the shopping, it's the prepping, it's the cooking like all of it. And this is one of the many reasons I love Green Chef they are the number one meal kit for eating well. And the ingredients come pre measured they are perfectly portioned mostly prep so you can spend less time stressing and more time enjoying delicious home cooked meals. They offer 30 weekly recipe options and I love them amount because it's just enough to have a really great selection, but not too many to where you have decision fatigue and are just super overwhelmed. You can also switch up your plan whenever you're ready to try a new way of eating. Green Chef is the best meal kit, whether you're keto, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, which is what my doctor has recommended, because of this hypothyroid thing that we're trying to figure out. So you know, another reason I love them, if you're a pescatarian, or you just want to eat more balanced meals, I love using them because I get to cook with my husband, and it's not stressful, it's just all right there, we get to enjoy each other and have a good time cooking. This deal that they're offering right now to y'all is absolutely amazing. Go to GreenChef.com/kickass125 and use code kickass125 to get $125 off, including free shipping. It's GreenChef.com/kickass125 and use code kickass125 to get $125 off, including free shipping. I absolutely love them; I think you will too. And thank you so much for supporting our sponsors because when you do that, in turn supports this show.
I want to shift gears slightly and talk about I know that a good portion of your work focuses on people reclaiming their power after becoming sober. So what are some ways in which a newly sober person can learn to hear and speak their truth and kind of renew their sense of meaning and purpose?
Yeah, it's something that it feels like it's very cliche to say, reclaim your power and all of the that, but I mean it, I actually really mean it. We specially especially women, I find, get very lost in the roles that they play, and alcohol or any other, let's even leave alcohol behind and just say we find ways to cope with the pain of things we've endured, and the ways that we abandon ourselves, right? Abandon our voice, abandon what we know, abandon what we want. And we do that unconsciously, mostly. And we I mean, 1000s of women at this point, and there's some men in there too, get to the point where, at the you know, by the time they're say their kids have grown up, that's usually when it happens, or some, at some point in their kids growing up. They realize they don't have a sense of identity. And, or, they've put the sense of identity that they do have is really, I'm a mother, I am my job, you know, and they don't you ask them what they want, they want to eat for dinner, or if they're tired right now, or if they're hungry right now, and they don't know. Yeah, and it's such an, and that kind of dislocation from yourself is it requires relief. And people find it through alcohol, they find it through their phones, they find it through whatever. We have a million ways to ease that pain. And when you take away the alcohol or you take away whatever it is that is helping you to numb that you're left with this sort of vacuum. You have a choice to maybe get curious about that and ask some questions about who you are and what you want. And the number one thing I always tell people to start doing is just writing things down. It sounds again, kind of cliche, but it actually works science. It's scientifically proven, it works.
Right some shit down.
Like get a pen and paper, it's the most it's also available anytime and for free. Just start writing in the morning, like how you feel and be honest. What's going on with you? How do you feel about your relationships? How does your body feel? What are you, are you, do you have any meaning in your days? Like what is giving you meaning? What's not? Burn those pages afterwards if that's what is required for you to be honest, but start doing that and what that really is having is getting thoughts and feelings that are inside of you outside of you. So putting them on the page and by really getting them out of your body right and starting to gently unearth the subconscious and allow It's like, I just started gardening this year and it's like, there's parts of my, I'd never, I've never dug a hole in the earth, I've never tried to play anything, and it's interesting and all kinds of metaphors. But there's parts of my outs outdoors that haven't been dug up for years, you can tell. And if you put the shovel in, it feels like you're hitting rock right away, but you're really not, you're hitting like just roots upon roots upon roots. And if you let if I stamp, stomp on the shovel, it'll go down like difficultly but it'll go down. And then you start to pull things up. And once you start to get in there, it's easier to get in there. And it's not easy, but it's very useful. So writing. The other thing is to learn about boundaries.
Oh boundaries. When you were naming all those things that like people, you know, like might be addicted to and I, that was what I thought I'm like, poor boundaries.
Yeah, having no boundaries. Yeah. Having none. Just start to dip your toe in the water or learning about them. I mean, bound learning boundaries is like a lifelong process. But I have found in the way in, in teaching people that once they start to hear about this, the concept of boundaries, what they are, and they realize, and they and they look at their own lives. I think it's the source of, you know, 90% of sort of interpersonal problems and pain. Yep, I would agree with that. So just start to learn, there's all kinds of books, I always tell people to listen to the Rob Bell podcast of the RobCasts, episode on boundaries, if you just Google Rob Bell boundaries, he has one of the best podcasts on boundaries ever.
So there's that and then just I think, once you start to even get a little curious about this type of thing, and, and have an ounce of willingness, the opportunities to explore that surface naturally, organically in your life, right? The next book will show up, you'll have a conflict in your one of your relationships, where you'll go, huh, okay, what was happening there. And obviously, there's all that, that, you know, therapy, I always recommend therapy and working with coaches and just investing that time and reading, and all of that.
I love that plan. And I want to I want to tag on one more thing, because I'm thinking about the people listening. Thinking about them sitting down to journal, whether it's you know, the Notes app on their phone, or, or on their computer or pen and paper. And my addition to that is don't judge whatever comes up or try your best not to. Because what inevitably happens when people start to get curious and I've done this too, was like, we immediately label it as good or bad, right or wrong. You know, like, if if you're still hung up about a past relationship, like why should be over that by now. They were so terrible to me, or…
And I'm so terrible. I'm married. I can't believe I'm still thinking about this person. Oh, my god, shut it down.
Right. It's just it, when you notice yourself judging, if you are judging, just notice, it's sort of like what they teach us in meditation. Not that I'm any good at this. But you notice the thoughts come in, and you look at them as if they're passing clouds. Well, aren't those interesting? And there they go. If you, you can't beat yourself up into more curiosity into betterment into self-actualization. No, it doesn't work that way. Just makes you feel shitty.
So totally I read, I'm sure you know, of Kristin Neff. But yeah, my therapist a few years ago recommended I read Self-Compassion. I was like, I'm fine. I'm not I'm I have plenty of self-compassion. She's like yeah…
She gets into the nitty gritty.
Yeah, that's funny, Laura, go read it. And I was like, oh, because we do, we we've been raised to think conditioned to think that there are good feelings, bad feelings, right feelings, wrong feelings, and good thoughts, bad thoughts and all that. They're not there are what the and that's what gets us into this thick water too, is like, deep water, is trying to not feel what we feel. Yeah, not just by willing it away, it will go away. And we don't no one gets away with anything. I know that for sure. Like I have tried.
Yeah, trust me, which I think everyone listening has as well.
Yeah, I have tried but it isn't going away. So you got to look at that thing and learn to love it and so much of recovery is about that for me is accepting all of it, all of the good and the supposed bad in me and the contradictions, and you know, I'm still I still have to work on that. And there will be times when I have thoughts that are absolutely, like degenerate thoughts. You know? I, like, I wish that person would just fall into a hole in the earth and die. I will have like a thought like that. And it's like, really Laura? Really? And it's like, okay, so that's a, that's a thought that we have, you know, interesting. So what's next? And the longer you go, the, the longer I go, the more I realize it's all in there. We're capable of everything. You know…
You just have to push the shovel down.
You got to push the shovel down, cut the roots and just like see what's inside. But dig around and dig around, huh? Find the worms.
Dirt under your fingernails. Okay, everyone, the book is We Are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life of course so all those links will be in the show notes, including the previous episode that Laura was on, where she goes more in depth about her story of getting sober. And anything else that you want to say? Where do you want I know you're taking an Instagram break, but by the time this episode comes out it you might actually be back. So where do you want people to go to find out more about you? Maybe to find out more about the luckiest club?
Yeah, go to my website because I may or may not be back on the screen. But everything's at my website, which is my name LauraMcKowan.com. There's a there are links to all my all my work and my books and The Luckiest Club as well as is linked from there.
Perfect. All right, everyone, you know how much I am so incredibly grateful for your time and that you choose to spend it with me and my guests. And remember, it's our life's journey to make ourselves better humans and our life's responsibility to make the world a better place. Bye for now.
Everyone, thanks again for listening to the show. And just a quick reminder that if your company needs a speaker or a trainer, I might be the right person for you. I speak and do keynotes on confidence and resilience for mixed audiences as well as do trainings on the daring way which is the methodology based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown. So if you think it might be a good fit, hit me up at support at Andrea o n.com. or head over to my speaking page AndreaOwen.com/speaking.